Star Marines (2007) is the third SF novel in the Legacy Trilogy and the sixth novel in the Future Marines sequence, following Battlespace . The initial work in this sequence is Semper Mars .
In the previous volume, the Star Explorer Wings of Isis was observing the Wheel within the Sirius system in 2148. No one in the exploration ship knew what the Wheel was, but a slender golden ship emerged from the alien artifact. It was obviously a spaceship far larger than the Wings of Isis.
In 2159, MIEU-1 returned to Earth after a twenty-one year mission to Ishtar in the Lalande 21185 system. Garroway awoke in a cybehibe tube. At first, he felt that he was drowning in an enclosed space, but then his implant reminded him that everything is okay.
Colonel Ramsey got a briefing on the political situation. Some people didn't want the First MIEU back on Earth. The high brass were sending MIEU-1 to Sirius to investigate the disappearance of the Wings of Isis.
The brass believed that the Wheel was a Tipler Machine, an artificial wormhole. They think that it could be used to travel between the stars. But they were not certain whether a special course would be required to reach a specific destination.
In this novel, Clinton Vincent Garroway is a Brigadier General in the US Marine. He commands the First Marine Interstellar Expeditionary Unit.
Robert Ellsworth Lee is a Colonel in the US Marines Corps. He commands the First Regiment of the Marine Division.
Travis Garroway is a Gunnery Sergeant in the US Marines.
In this story, the Ones Who Are noticed a star system in Sector 2420 had regained spacefaring technology. Species 2824 had recently followed a Huntership through a Gateway and destroyed it. Another Huntership was dispatched to the Sector.
The Huntership emerged from paraspace six light hours from the primary. Electromagnetic samplings revealed many transmitting objects around the primary. Most were clustered around the third planet. The Huntership began moving sunward.
The US Marine Corps is testing a new type unit. The Recon Strike Team will be dropped onto a hostile planet to reconnoiter before deployment of a Marine Interstellar Expeditionary Unit. An RST will have a recon battalion, a special weapons battalion, an air element with sixteen aerospace fighters, and a headquarters constellation.
Colonel Lee is charged with converting his regiment into an RST. Today they are testing Individual Marine Assault Craft at the Mars Military Training Command facility in Eos Chasma. Thirty-two IMACs and a cloud of decoys are inserted from orbit into the Martian atmosphere.
Travis and the other thirty-one marines are riding the combat-insertion pods through the Martian atmosphere. They are having a bumpy ride over Olympus Mons. Each pod is trailing a streak of hot plasma.
Then the pods slow down enough to discard the ablative material, adding to the clutter around the occupied cans. Radio is no longer blocked by the plasma and the pods regain communications with each other. At twelve kilometers, the pods transform into lifting bodies and the drive systems are activated.
The pods dive downward and pull up into horizontal flight at fifteen hundred meters. For ninety seconds, they streak across the desert and then land on the surface. The hulls open and marines emerge to attack their objective.
Meanwhile, the Huntership is detected by a High Guard monitor. The alien is traveling at .95c and reaches the monitor soon after the first contact. The Huntership decelerates to almost motionless in a split second. The monitor sends the data just before it is discorporated.
The training exercise on Mars is terminated as soon as the news reaches Phobos. Transports are dispatched to pick up the marines. Other ships are evacuating Phobos. General Garroway receives orders to activate the RST and transfer command to his MIEU.
This tale takes 1MIEU and the new RST outsystem toward Saturn. The High Guard are tracking the alien vessel. It is nudging asteroids into new orbits.
The aliens are dropping asteroids on Earth. The next installment in this series is
Highly recommended for Douglas fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of hostile aliens, boarding actions, and brave marines. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin